In America this Monday was the Labor Day holiday. It is the unofficial end of summer and a day where the American people celebrate how hard they work all year by not working that day and usually barbecuing something. Though I had the day off from classes, I had to go work on putting the paper together Monday evening. However, my morning was free.
What better way to spend my last day of summer than by shooting arrows into a heavily padded target? Exactly, there is no better way. Last time I went to the range I received a bit of bow-burn on my left arm from the string snapping forward to release the arrow, this time I wore long sleeves along with my leather bracer and finger sleeves and I was relatively unscathed.
Another archer was leaving when I arrived, he was using a compound bow with lots of fancy features. He seemed moderately impressed that my starter bow was such a serious one- that made me nervous. Whenever people say their impressed or proud in regards to something I'm doing, I'm afraid I'll screw it up like an idiot and disappoint them or invoke their scorn. (It's a bad habit, I didn't even know this person which makes it all the more ridiculous.)
When I was preparing to take my first shot, I was anxious that he would be watching (sometime I over-shoot and find it buried in the ground behind the target later). So, full of self-conscious anxiety and all too aware of the wind ruffling my hair and the trees, I drew back and shot. Somehow, in spite of myself, I hit almost a dead bulls eye.
Of course, I'm lacking in consistency. I still over shot a couple times, but nearly all my arrows ended up in the target and several were bulls eyes or near enough for me. I'm getting better, so next time I'll try some more distant targets. I'm an over-thinker and in archery you can't think too much, you just have to feel it and trust yourself. This is good for me to force myself to stop thinking once in a while.
Arrows are so strange to watch in flight. When I saw an interview with Russell Crowe during the filming of Robin Hood he kept saying that arrows are alive, that they swim, which seems strange, but I understand now. They move through the air like they are searching for the target, skimming on a current and moving with a strange fluidity. It's crazy to think of yourself setting that in motion.